POPEYE (1980)

dir. Robert Altman. Based on the classic E. C. Segar comic strip. Popeye the sailor man (Robin Williams) arrives in coastal town Sweethaven, where he meets Olive Oyl (Shelley Duvall), and becomes involved in the problems of the small town while investigating his own family history. A glorious mess of a film. Almost none of the songs are memorable, and the jokes are not very funny. The way the comic book slapstick and fight scenes are translated into live action are very clever and inventive, but not as funny as they need to be. The design of Sweethaven is very detailed, but you always feel like you’re looking at a large set. Robin Williams’s Popeye voice is so hard to understand, at times is unintelligible. While nothing really works, it still has a charm to it, and the Swee’Pea infant (or ‘Infink’ as Popeye says) is very cute. The high point of the film is the wonderful song ‘He Needs Me’, beautifully sung by Shelley Duvall. The same song was also used perfectly in Paul Thomas Anderson’s PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (2002), fans of that movie will recognise the song instantly. POPEYE is worth watching just to see Olive Oyl sing this song.

STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

dir. Irvin Kershner. The Hoth scenes are so brilliant. How many science fiction films open in a brand new world, introduce a new villain aesthetic, and then abandon it as the story moves forwards? This time I really enjoyed how much Luke uses the Force. Was the moment he grabbed the Lightsaber in the Wampa cave the first time he moved a physical object with the Force? I know in Episode IV, he intuitively used the Force to practice dueling, make the crucial hit to destroy the first Death Star, but is this the first time he actually moved an object? Or did something happen in between films? Mark Hamill is so amazing.

STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)


dir. Irvin Kershner. My favourite Star Wars film. A masterpiece, but now so familiar that I can’t be objective about it. Watched again tonight, will certainly reappear in this movie diary. This time I loved watching the moment of eye contact between Vader and Leia before Han is frozen in carbonite. It’s just a second, but I like to think it’s a hint that director Irvin Kershner inserted to show that Vader senses that Leia is Force sensitive, or possibly connected to his family. Thank you also to @forcetoastpod for reigniting my love for Star Wars.